Monday, April 30, 2012

Handmade Mother's Day

So it's Monday, which means Mother's Day is two weeks from yesterday. Have you thought about your gift yet? I've given it some thought but, um, it's not done yet. (Thankfully my finals are tomorrow and Thursday, so I'll get a lot of brain space back!) If you're in the same boat, I found some DIY projects and Etsy items that you could use to make it a handmade holiday.

First, an easy tutorial for making some pretty teacup candles. These are a good way to use up the leftover wax at the bottom of a glass votive, too.

This handmade lapis necklace can be personalized with yours and your sibling's initials, and I think it's an elegant alternative to the usual mom-and-kid jewelry out there, $64.

If your mom is a bookworm, she might appreciate a new holder for her e-reader, like this tongue-in-cheek hardcover "book"for $64.

Don't these cake pops look tasty? Even if your mom's not a huge fan of flowers ("I love you, here's something that dies right away!"), I bet she wouldn't mind opening a box to a sunshine-y cake bouquet, $28.

And because one can never have too much storage, a DIY for recovering old boxes (or journals) in cute fabric. Heck, you could put those cake pops inside one of these!

So what are you getting your mom this year? Are you making her anything? What's the best/funniest/nicest thing you've given? I was 11-ish and I got the wild idea to sew her a pair of pot holders out of some leftover fabric I had used to make some kind of Renaissance outfit. They were the ugliest things I'd ever seen, but she still displayed them in the kitchen for a while anyway. What a good sport.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Creative Minds Are Rarely Tidy

When I shared my studio's makeover progress a few weeks ago, I got a lot of really nice comments from you guys and from folks I know in real life. It was fun to hear what you liked and what you plan to do in your own houses. One thing that struck me, though, was how clean everybody thought my office looked.

I am not the kind of girl who gets told her house looks clean very often.

Usually I only hear it from Hubsey, but that's just because he's seen the place at its worst. (Our ability to make a mess is rather impressive, if I do say so myself.)


Since I don't want to give the false impression that I have some secret organization plan, here's how things actually look in here on any given day:

And in the spirit of keepin' it real, I would qualify this as "not terrible." There's nothing on the floor and I can still see a lot of desk, so it's a win.

Over on the windowsill, which has just become an extension of my workspace, there's this collection of goodies:

I used a saw in my office. Don't judge.

Why yes, that IS a hacksaw resting on top of a dried bowl of paint next to some crumpled sandpaper and a cut yardstick. And yes, it's all been there for 2 weeks.

So don't go around thinking I'm That Blogger with a perfect house. I just moved my crap to the other side of the room so I could focus on my work without actually putting anything away. And then it all sits there until I need that side of the room for something else. It's a vicious cycle.

What about you? Any blog mysteries you want to clarify? What does your house look like right now? Are you one of the few who actually keeps it pretty neat? If so, please tell us all of your secrets in the comments.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Rocking my world:

Tea-Rex (ha!) coasters, $15

Making me cross-eyed:

floor plan

elevation sketch

My final project for drafting is in full swing, and I grossly underestimated how long it would take me. (I also have some work for my other class that I haven't started yet.) Whoops! Note to self: finals are just as time-consuming when you go to college for the second time.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go chain myself to the dining room table so I can finish drawing the furniture.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Shop Update: Handbags & Hot Colors

How is it already Monday?! I feel like I blinked and the weekend was over. It was a blur of jewelry (the wedding expo went pretty well) and helping Hubsey pick out new shirts for work (which did not go as well because he only found one he liked, ugh). But since you're not here to read about menswear, let me show you the new goodies I made before the expo.

First, I'm trying my hand at purse-making! I love selling vintage purses when I can find them, but I felt like it was time for a permanent clutch collection. So far we have tan and black:

Shabby chic bridesmaid clutch, $25

This is my rendition of The Heart of the Ocean. But more practical. And not lost at sea because Rose threw it overboard. This one has never been in sea water.

Vintage inspired bridal pendant, $45

And it only took me two years to do it, but I finally made a companion piece to one of my bestsellers. Ladies and gentlemen, the pearl cluster bracelet:

Pearl cluster bracelet, $30

I've been slowly adding more to Oh Nostalgia, too, but there's still a lot to go. Time to get on that. These are two of my recent favorites, since I'm apparently getting into a colorful phase:

Purple estate style earrings, $20

Red rhinestone earrings, $20

So how was your weekend? Anybody else have a futile shopping trip? Or add some stuff to your shop? What new things are you working on lately?

Friday, April 20, 2012

Pinterest #21

Happy Friday! Ready for some Pinterest-provided eye candy? Let's begin.

Sometimes I play a game with Hubsey called "Guess What I Like In This Picture." I usually grill him about the Crate & Barrel catalog, so he was nice and prepared last night when I busted this image out. (For the record, I dig the beams and silver-trays-as-artwork. And the floors. Basically all of it.)

Now that my hair is getting Rapunzel-esque, I've been investigating real hairstyles to keep it out of my face while I work on my drafting final. This one is especially lovely:

We tried a new recipe over the weekend (since it's one of my goals to cook more this year), Thai chicken enchiladas. Not bad, but the sauce wasn't spicy enough for us:

This is a tutorial for making an iPad case out of some old fabric and a bubble envelope. I think a slightly smaller size would be good for a Kindle, too. If I try it, I'll be sure to let you know:

I found this kitchen makeover yesterday and it should be the #1 example people cite when sharing The Power of Paint. The only things they replaced were the appliances (whaaaat!), everything else just got a fresh coat:

So what neat-o stuff did you find on Pinterest this week? Or anywhere on the web, since I don't want to play favorites? Have any fun weekend plans? I have a bridal expo on Sunday at a historical venue, which I'm excited to see. I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mirror, Mirror

In an unprecedented display of quick decorating, I've already made something to put in our sad, accessory-less bedroom:

Get a load of how it looked when I bought it:

HOLY MOLY, right? Those are some serious flowers. But it was only $14, big enough to go above the dresser, and an interesting shape--and I knew it could be easily transformed by the power of spray paint. Oil-rubbed bronze, to be exact.

A tip, if you're going to use magazine paper instead of newspaper to cover the glass, make sure you double it up. You don't want any rogue paint getting through.

It's hard to capture in pictures, but in person it's a rich brown with a very slight metallic sheen. We have assorted light fixtures with this finish, so it'll fit right in.

I'm also enjoying how it looks against the light walls. One item down, 476 to go!

Have you found any thrifty treasures lately? Or spray painted anything? Or wondered why pastel flowers were such a trend? (This one family in my childhood subdivision had them EVERYWHERE. With textured walls. Gaaaah... Sensory overload.)

P.S. My sweet friend Gail invited me to do a guest post over on her blog today! It may or may not involve yardsticks. Check it out to see what else I made recently!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

Our bedroom is the only space in the house we haven't decorated. (And by "we" I mean "me.") It's basically the room where furniture goes to die. We have Hubsey's old bed, my childhood dresser and one matching nightstand, a different nightstand from a flea market, and two massive bookshelves we don't have space for anywhere else.

I'm not even going to show you a picture, that's now bad it is. We've just left it alone because so few people ever see it, and we wanted to get the main living areas done first. But now that everything else is lookin' sweet, our bedroom seems extra sad.

Hubsey hasn't seen this yet, but here's what I want to do with the space:

You guys know I love me some IKEA, so it shouldn't surprise anybody that four of these items are from the blue and yellow palace. The graphic duvet cover is $39.99, the gray-washed Hemnes dresser (similar to the one in my studio) is $299, the coordinating nightstand is $59, and the cool glass lamp is $59.99. The crazy affordable colorful prints, $15 each, are from Etsy, as is the Dwell Studio pillow for $40. Add in a gallon of paint for $25-ish, and we'd only be spending about $550 if we bought every single thing here.

Of course, I like to DIY things so maybe some of this will change as we go. And there's also the issue of my snail paced decorating strategy, so it might be unrealistic to expect finished pictures anytime before Christmas. Thank you for your patience.

So what about you? Anybody else bitten by the decorating bug? What room do you want to change?

P.S. Thanks for all of your comments and emails about yesterday's post. You guys are the best.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Worry Wart

Yesterday I was having a hard time figuring out what to write. I tried several different things and none of them really stuck, so instead of forcing it, I've decided to just talk about what's on my mind.

I'm a worry wart. If there's a chance something could go wrong, no matter how minor, I think about it. It's especially annoying when I have an actual issue to be concerned with, because then I really can't get it out of my head. My problem this time is business-related, and I don't want to be a Debbie Downer for those of you who are looking to be self employed soon, but I feel like you need to know about this side of it, too. Shizz happens, as they say.


It started a couple of months ago when a blog I'd been advertising with since the beginning went on semi-hiatus and removed all of our ads. Unfortunately for me, this blog was a huge source of orders for both shops, and I still haven't figured out how to fill the hole it left. I didn't have all of my eggs in that particular basket, so I'm still doing okay, but there's been a definite drop since it happened. I know that business is always changing and we need to be prepared, but I still felt really blindsided by this (literally: we were given less than a week's notice).

I've been looking for different blogs and registering for more shows, which are the right things to do in this situation, but I'm still all paranoid. It's so hard not to worry about it, especially since I'm home alone most days and my mind is free to wander. "Oh, are you feeling more stable? Go cry at your desk!" "That's a pretty new bracelet. Too bad nobody will ever see it!" It would almost be better if the drop was from something I did wrong, because the random lack of control made it worse.

Anyway, that's my deal. I still haven't gotten things back to normal and I'm stressed about it. They'll get there eventually but it can't come fast enough.

I know I'm not the only one with concerns, so let's have ourselves a little worry party in the comments. Is there anything you want to unload? Worried about your shop/blog/business? Anybody have some motivational tips to share with the class? Have you been in a similar situation? How'd you fix it?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Pinterest #20

Whew! I'm glad it's Friday. Last week was my spring break, and having all that extra time made this week seem jam-packed by comparison. I realized that by not going to class I essentially gained another whole workday (or estate sale shopping time, whatever), and I definitely missed it this week when I didn't have it. I felt like I was just playing catch up.

Thankfully it's almost time to relax! To get that started, let's see what I found on Pinterest.

Since I recently scored that sweet vintage luggage, I could turn one of the suitcases (or two) into a handy craft organizer:

How gorgeous is the back of this retro cocktail dress? I can't stop staring at it. Instead of writing the rest of the post, I keep scrolling back up and wishing I had some fancy spring parties to attend. Le sigh.

Let's make a list of the great features in this room: high ceilings, a giant window, exposed beams, and oh, a library ladder for your house!

This is another one of those projects that makes you smack your forehead and wonder why you didn't think of it: DIY business cards made from gift tags.

And finally this print is, indeed, awesome:

So how was your week? Anybody else feeling the post spring break burn? What neat things did you find on Pinterest? Any big weekend plans? (We're doing nothing and I'm stoked!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

What I Wore Wednesday: Stripes

I go through cycles with my wardrobe, like I think a lot of people do. I get into these ruts and I tend to wear the same handful of items over and over for a few weeks. Case in point: those bright green flats.

t-shirt: thrifted
jeans: Forever 21
shoes: Payless
scarf: Banana Republic
earrings: I made them

I've also been rocking this pair of jeans a lot, probably because they haven't met their shrinky demise in the wash yet. But that's only a matter of time--no matter what I do or what brand I buy, every pair eventually gets too short. (Any magical brands that won't let me down?) And now that I'm thinking about it, scarves have been making a lot of appearances lately, too. I seem to be a creature of habit.

So basically this outfit is a mishmash of the Paige Trends for Spring. Have you been rotating through the same few pieces lately? Does anybody not cycle through their wardrobe? What's your favorite piece to wear in the spring?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Gift Guide: Tiny Human!

So before anybody jumps to the wrong conclusion about these baby items, there's no bun in the oven! Vacant uterus. No preggo.

But I do have a baby nephew who's having his first birthday soon! I'm admittedly terrible at knowing what's age appropriate for a kid that young (aside from onesies, which I have already purchased), so I took some shots in the dark. I think this stuff is pretty cool, but let me know if something is totally off base so I don't order it.

The whole family is a group of foodies, and I think the little man is heading in the same direction. Felt donuts, $9.50.

Who doesn't love dinosaurs?! I can see some big time snuggling happening with this one. (Plus, I dig his giant, forlorn eyeball.) $20.

He also has a TON of energy during the day, so I'm thinking an easy-to-grab car will make for some fun scooting around on the floor, $9.

How did I do? I don't think I accidentally picked anything for a 5 year old, but I wanted to make sure. Hubsey has no clue either, so it's a case of the blind leading the blind.

What's your favorite thing to get a 1 year old? Are we overlooking something obvious? Where do you look for gift ideas?

P.S. I have a new post on Kanelstrand today! Tips for efficient thrift shopping. Check it out.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Great Lengths

Yesterday after Easter brunch, Hubsey and I came home and took a walk around our neighborhood. There were a lot of people out, and I noticed a rather... alarming trend. Maybe I'm just too old and married to understand Kids These Days, but what is the DEAL with the micro miniskirts? And why do people think they're appropriate to pair with fishnets for Easter?

I saw three of these outfits yesterday and I'm baffled. So in honor of covered thighs (especially when you're having brunch with your grandma), here are some longer options for your viewing pleasure:

Navy bird dress, $69 

Coral two-tone dress, $75

Overlay sleeve dress, $57

Damask dress, $69

All dresses are from Dorothy Perkins--have you been there? Amazing. Obviously I got all distracted looking at the party garb, but they have a lot of stuff for everyday wear, too. And as you can see, the prices are pretty good.

Anyway, am I the only one who thinks miniskirts at family functions are weird? Especially a religious holiday? Any other Dorothy Perkins fans in the house? Which of these is your fave?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Studio Progress

So, you may recall that in February I started updating my studio/office/the guest room (yep, I have to share). It started with some furniture shuffling and adding storage, but now I've moved onto the decorating and organizing part of the mission. When we left off, things looked like this:

Kind of naked and boring. Marvin the Dinosaur was trying to make it fabulous, but then I realized a painting probably shouldn't be kept in direct sunlight. So he had to scoot. Instead, I put together a DIY bulletin board and dug through our stash of artwork. Now things are coming together:

Those little canvases are waiting to be painted. They'll also be hung up. Eventually.

And since I've never really taken you guys on an official tour of my workspace, let me properly introduce you. First, we have the stack of books I use for my photo shoots. The purple one on top is actually my iPhone charger, and has now become a little landing pad for miscellaneous goodies (you can see that I didn't end up giving the desk calendar to Hubsey after all):

On the other side of my desk is a mishmash of writing utensils, paint brushes, and some craft knives--all kept in various glassware. Next to it is my bucket o' cords:

For those wondering how I keep all of my jewelry parts organized (or in some semblance of order) I say, tiny containers! Any kind will do:

See, just because I make a small product doesn't mean I use fewer materials. The bits might be small, but MY are there a lot of them to keep track of now. Good thing I have more storage.

So that's where it is now. Those three little canvases perched on top of the key print are next on my list. (which means they might be done by June, ha). What's your studio like? Are you doing any re-vamping this spring? If you could have any workspace you wanted, what would it be?